• Eight excellent educators to be recognized Sept. 13


    Nathalie D. Means Henderson, Ed.S, Principal of Jefferson Elementary School in the St. Louis Public School District

    Wanda Patrice LeFlore, Ed.D, Principal at Kennard Classical Junior Academy in the St. Louis Public School District

    Photos by Wiley Price

    Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 12:05 am
    By Andrew Fowler St. Louis American | 0 comments

    Eight educators in the St. Louis area will receive recognition for excellence at the St. Louis American Foundation’s 2013 Salute to Excellence in Education Scholarship and Awards Gala on Friday, September 13 at the America’s Center Ballroom, along with 2013 Lifetime Achiever Lynn Beckwith Jr., 2013 Stellar Performer Art McCoy and others. More complete profiles will appear in next week’s Salute special section.

    An environment for education

    Clara Collins Coleman is the curator of Interpretation at Laumeier Sculpture Park and Museum. She facilitates the creation of educational programming, writes grants for the park and interacts with visitors on a daily basis by giving tours.

    “For every exhibition, we try to do educational programs to help folks understand what the artist is trying to say,” Coleman said. “I produce information to help that dialogue.”

    Coleman has been in the museum field for 35 years and has a unique experience of providing art education for many in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

    Effecting change in students

    Tiffany Fane is the seventh grade science teacher at Hazelwood East Middle School, where she began teaching in 2004. No matter where she is teaching, Fane is always looking to touch the lives of students beyond the science classroom.

    “At Hazelwood, I had a student who was into gangs and drugs and wanted to give it up, but he couldn’t because he provided money to his home. He shared this with me,” Fane said.

    “I showed him other routes. He came back and told me he was in college. Those are the moments when you actually can effect a change in students.”

    Make teachers better to make students smarter

    Nathalie Means Henderson just began her fifth year as the principal of Jefferson Elementary School. She was born and raised in Concord, North Carolina, but has been in St. Louis for the past 10 years and has learned to thrive in this community.

    She came to St. Louis with Teach for America and was placed at Sumner High School.

    During that time she was selected to participate in the St. Louis Public Schools’ New Leaders Program. She worked as an assistant principal at two schools before becoming the principal at Jefferson Elementary. She is also an adjunct professor at Lindenwood University.

    Modeling effective instruction

    Vanessa Howard is an instructional coach for teachers at Johnson-Wabash Elementary School in the Ferguson-Florissant School District. She helps teachers with professional development so they can better serve the children at the school.

    Howard was hired for the position by the school’s principal, in part, because of her experience and reputation as a stellar teacher. Howard was a third grade teacher at the school. Howard and her team of third grade teachers had the best Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test scores in the district for that grade level, and they outscored the state average for reading and math.

    Building student character as a team

    This autumn, Wanda LeFlore began her fifth year as the principal at Kennard Classical Junior Academy in the St. Louis Public School District, which has earned a reputation of educating high-achieving, gifted students.

    Having worked in various gifted education programs, LeFlore is on the Advisory Panel for the National Association for Gifted Children, which helps educators and the community better understand the needs of gifted children.

    “There are differences, and you want to make sure you provide opportunities,” LeFlore said. “Some students come with special social needs as well as special learning abilities, and we have to help those students reach their potential.”

    Accelerating students in math

    Wilma Slaughter has been a seventh grade math teacher at Hixson Middle School in the Webster Groves School District for the past 26 years. She has a master’s degree in math education and has been in the education field for 30 years.

    “I still love it because every year is fresh. Every year is new,” Slaughter said.

    In the future, Slaughter wants to write a book about her experiences teaching children to embrace learning and the importance of math education.

    “I want to write a book about pretty much what we’re doing wrong in America when it comes to math education,” Slaughter said.

    Education beyond the classroom

    Jody Squires is committed to investing in the development of young students, but is not the traditional classroom teacher. Instead, her job focuses on student learning beyond the halls of a school building. For the past 18 years Squires has worked as an urban youth specialist and city program director with the University of Missouri Extension Program.

    Squires directs the 4-H (Head, Heart, Health and Hands) Youth Development Program, which provides broad opportunities for youth to learn and participate in life skills education, leadership development and community service. This provides the students she works with a holistic educational experience.

    Meeting students where they are

    In her brief time as an educator, the impact Deitre Terrell is having on her students is measurable.

    “At the end the last year, 11 of my 12 students made a year and a half gain on their Northwest Evaluation Association [reading test],” Terrell said.

    Terrell, who has just started her third year as a full-time teacher, is a reading interventionist instructor for the Ultimate Purpose Program (UPP) at Confluence Charter Schools.

    The program focuses on students who have been targeted as at-risk for dropping out and have fallen behind their grade-level standards for reading and math. The 2013 Salute to Excellence in Education will be held 7 p.m. Friday, September 13 at the America’s Center Ballroom, following a reception at 6 p.m. Tickets are on sale now. Individual tickets are $85 each/$850 table, and VIP/Corporate tickets are $1,500 table. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.stlamerican.com and click on Salute to Excellence, or call 314-533-8000.

    The story can be accessed here.